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< Back to current issue of Immigration Daily < Back to current issue of Immigrant's Weekly

[Congressional Record: February 5, 2002 (Extensions)]
[Page E83]
From the Congressional Record Online via GPO Access [wais.access.gpo.gov]
[DOCID:cr05fe02-44]                         
 
        STRONG STUDENT VISA SYSTEM CRITICAL TO NATIONAL SECURITY
                                 ______
                                 
                           HON. DOUG BEREUTER

                              of nebraska

                    in the house of representatives

                       Tuesday, February 5, 2002

  Mr. BEREUTER. Mr. Speaker, this Member wishes to commend to his 
colleagues the February 4, 2002, editorial from the Omaha World-Herald 
entitled ``Loosey Goosey Borders IV.''
  This editorial is one in a series of editorials published by the 
Omaha World-Herald which illuminate why it is entirely appropriate for 
the U.S. to enact strict immigration laws and, subsequently, to 
actively enforce those laws. Specifically, this editorial focuses upon 
the student visa system.
  Indeed, the U.S. should be pleased that its higher education system 
attracts many foreign students, and, while it is important to continue 
the student visa system to bring vibrancy and diversity to universities 
and colleges, those interests must continuously and consistently be 
balanced against U.S. security interests. Failure to do so could place 
American lives at risk to terrorist attacks--among other threats--
committed by those in the U.S. fraudulently under the guise of 
educational purposes.
  Even with the strictest possible enforcement of visa controls, the 
system will always be susceptible to visa fraud. However, that does not 
mean that the U.S. should throw up its hands in surrender and throw 
open its borders.

                   [Omaha World-Herald, Feb. 4, 2002]

                        Loosey goosey borders IV

       Slow progress is made in controlling foreign student visas.
       Progress on tightening up the United States' free-and-easy 
     borders has been slow but steady since Sept. 11--not 
     spectacular, but at least things are moving.
       Before the terrorist attack, student visas were issued to 
     foreign nationals, some of whom came to this country and, in 
     essence, disappeared into the general population. The 
     Immigration and Naturalization Service didn't check whether 
     they actually went to school or whether they left after their 
     education was done.
       Things changed on Sept. 11. Security became a greater 
     concern. The INS is setting up a computer system to track 
     student visa holders. The agency has been struggling with a 
     system for years, but it appears that it will be in place, 
     INS officials said, by 2003.
       The tracking system is not without its critics. A group 
     dealing with foreign students withdrew its opposition after 
     the September attack, but many individual schools have 
     expressed the concern that a tracking system will discourage 
     foreign students.
       Security trumps that concern. So long as a student visa is 
     the gateway to an easy and unmonitored existence in the 
     United States for people whose motives might be other than 
     scholarship, this is a security matter. If keeping tabs on 
     foreign students discourages a few from coming to the United 
     States or inconveniences a college's administration, too bad.
       Besides the INS system, the Senate is expected to join the 
     House soon in passing legislation that, among other things, 
     would forbid the issuance of student visas to anyone from a 
     country that sponsors terrorism unless the State Department 
     investigates and approves the individual.
       Some local INS offices are on the ball, too. Omaha-based 
     INS officials, for instance, have been in contact with 
     colleges and universities within their jurisdiction. But not 
     all INS offices across the country have been as aggressive.
       Better monitoring of guests to discourage those who would 
     abuse the privilege is not onerous or unreasonable. Rather, 
     these precautions are sensible and understandable in light of 
     the credible threat terrorism poses to Americans. The faster 
     security can be improved, the better for the nation.
                           ____________________



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